Labour Against the Witchhunt welcomes the resignation of Labour Party general secretary Iain McNicol. He was directly in charge of the unelected and discredited compliance unit, which has purged thousands of pro-Corbyn members from the party.
We see his resignation very much as an important symbol and an integral part of our fight to radically transform the Labour Party, which is undergoing a long overdue Democracy Review, to which we have also contributed.
The automatic and instant expulsions and suspensions overseen by McNicol – especially those based on alleged anti-Semitism and those based on members’ alleged “support for other organisations” using rule 2.1.4.B – have brought the party into disrepute: They have prevented and discouraged new members from getting involved in party life, while valuable resources have been wasted in persecuting some of the most energetic and effective campaigners for social change. The purging of pro-Corbyn activists has been a major stumbling block to Labour winning a general election, which requires maximum unity.
We ask the NEC – which now has a strong majority supporting the leader of the party – to implement the following changes urgently:
- the recommendations of the Chakrabarti report dealing with the party’s disciplinary procedure based on natural justice and due process should be brought in:
- all those summarily expelled or suspended without due process should be immediately reinstated;
- an accused member should be given all the evidence submitted against them and be regarded as innocent until proven guilty;
- membership rights should not be removed until disciplinary procedures have been completed;
- disciplinary procedures should include consultation with the member’s CLP and Branch;
- disciplinary procedures should be time limited. Charges not resolved within three months should be automatically dropped;
- the first part of Rule 2. 1. 4. B (‘Exclusions’) should be deleted: it currently bars from Labour Party membership anybody who “joins and/or supports a political organisation other than an official Labour group or other unit of the Party”;
- the party should reject the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism which, in its list of examples, conflates anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism and support for the rights of the Palestinian people;
- the party should immediately abolish the ‘compliance/disputes unit’. Disciplinary decisions should be taken by elected bodies, not paid officials.